Stop the nonsense: Give Klopp time

SHANKLY. Ferguson. Clough. Say the names again, place them in any order. For those three immortals resonate like no others. Unarguably, the three greatest managers in the history of English football.

Shanks once went seven years without a trophy, Fergie three before he scrambled the FA Cup. Cloughie needed three to take Forest out of the old second tier.

By now, you will not need Waze to figure out where this column is heading. In this Instagram age, none would have survived.

On Sunday it will be two years since Jurgen Klopp was handed the Anfield reins and announced himself as "the Normal One". Just think back. The club was in disarray as a result of a dysfunctional transfer policy and 'Brenda's' ego.

What was needed was an inspirational figure to re-energise Liverpool FC, restore it to its rightful place in the Champions League and end the League title drought. For generations of Reds' fans, that was normality.

The first two have already been accomplished; the third is a task even the immortals couldn't achieve overnight. Yet there are a few 30-second attention span, amoeba-brained, social media-addicted snowflakes calling for his head.

Fanned by snowflake columnists who have nothing to write about for two weeks, the Liverpool manager has become THE story – or non-story - of the international break.

Yes, Liverpool had a rough September. But when the previous international break came around they were flying. Swaggering, even. They'd just thrashed Arsenal and didn't want to stop.

Can these "Klopp Out" merchants remember that far back?

Their first game after the break was at Manchester City when Sadio Mane was sent off. It led to a meltdown but since then we've seen how irresistible City are against 11 men, never mind 10.

No one mentions that Liverpool have had a tough programme – by the time they face United a week tomorrow, they will have faced three of the Big Six in their first seven games.

They've also had key men missing. Besides Mane's three-game suspension, there's been the Philippe Coutinho saga, while Nat Clyne's and Adam Lallana's long-term injuries have been an almost forgotten disruption.

Daft goals have been conceded and chances have gone begging at the other end, but for God's sake, look at the bigger picture – and I don't mean that portrait of Brendan Rogers. Coutinho is still there, Van Dijk may still come in January and Keita is definitely coming next year.

A previous column suggested this season could hinge on those three players: if they had all three, they could be contenders. Well, that just might have to wait a season.

Here, it is important to look at the club's overall strategy and where the manager fits into it.

Whatever you think of the Fenway Sports Group, they are not fast-buck merchants. Trust in them may be grudging because of the bad name of their fellow American predecessors, but they have hardly put a foot wrong.

Where Hicks & Gillett were shoot-from-the-hip cowboys, John Henry & Co were more like CSI.

After detailed study and forensic research, they've remained at Anfield, built a monumental main stand, kept Coutinho and backed the manager.

Not only have they given him a six-year contract, they were prepared to spend £70m on a defender! And no polar bear has ever held on to her cubs more fiercely than they did with their wantaway Brazilian star.

Why were they so determined? Because they're hell bent on changing Liverpool's reputation: it's no more a selling club.

In Klopp, they see a man who "gets" Liverpool FC. He came from a similar blue-collar club in Borussia Dortmund where he won two Bundesliga titles against the "Hollywood" Bayern Munich.

Crucially and like Rafa Benitez before him, Klopp understands what the club means to the people. And like Rafa and his wife Montse, Klopp and his wife Ulla - a social worker by trade - get about the community.

The German shares their passion, feels their joy, their agony. He is well paid but at least in this part of his life, he gives the impression that he "lives" for Liverpool FC.

All this may be pooh-poohed when a daft goal goes in but it is an essential requirement. Like Barcelona, Liverpool is more than a club.

On the field, he has made a massive difference. Not only has he improved players – Lallana, Mignolet, Clyne, Can, Moreno, Firmino and even Coutinho have all felt the benefit of his coaching and coaxing.

And he has introduced a high-intensity, gegen-pressing game not dissimilar to Pep Guardiola's.

Like Pep, he believes the best method of defence is keeping possession in the opponents' half.

We tend to forget that the early all-conquering Barcelona side were also a bit rickety at the back. And had a dodgy keeper. For Mignolet read Victor Valdes, who mixed bravery, brilliance and cock-ups in similar measures.

We overlooked all that though when we saw the stuff they were playing up front. And Pep's City apart, Liverpool have played the best football of this campaign.

Perhaps the biggest quibble is that Klopp has had four transfer windows to sort out his defence. Well, the first one hardly counts as he was still assessing his squad.

And he did manage to steer them to the League Cup final.

Then there's the "No Plan B" argument. All his eggs were in the Van Dijk basket but here we also see a long-term strategy.

Second choice is not for him or FSG – second-choice means you have an unwanted, second-rate player on your books once you get the right one. His value plummets and then you can't get rid of him. This is what happened under Rodgers.

And then there's his personality. He is charismatic, intelligent and a leader – a veritable Pied Piper who can take Liverpool to a new era. FSG may not be able to compete with Europe's fattest cats but if they are to compete at all they need a manager like Klopp – who can make up the cash deficit in other ways.

When the great Brian Clough was reminded that "Rome wasn't built in a day", he quipped: "I wasn't on that particular job."

But even this genius needed time to turn Forest into back-to-back European champions. It is a precious commodity of which Klopp deserves a generous helping right now.